Afghanistan admits 'lack of human rights' in country

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 07 2009 06:23 PM | Updated as of May 08 2009 02:23 AM

GENEVA - Afghanistan on Thursday painted a bleak picture of the human rights situation in the country, admitting there was "a lack of human rights" and that torture was "common" during criminal investigations.

"There are still key challenges facing human rights in Afghanistan, including ...weakness of the rule of law, failure to properly and systematically observe human rights due to lack of human rights," it said in a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Afghanistan's report marked a clear departure from other national reports submitted to the council, as those tend to show a more flattering side of the human rights situation in the countries.

In its submission to the council, which was on Thursday examining Afghanistan's human rights record, Kabul said it is "facing a wide range of problems in political, social and economic areas after the fall of the Taliban regime".

Amid a "weakness of the rule of law", the Afghan authorities admitted that "unfortunately torture and cruel treatment is common during criminal investigations in Afghanistan".

On the social front, there is little awareness of women's rights, added the authorities.

While acknowledging its shortcomings, the authorities also blamed militants and foreign forces for instability in the country.

"Despite these efforts, sometimes right to safety of civilians is violated by armed anti-government forces and international forces," it said.

It also pointed out that it has not been given access to detention centres managed by coalition forces.

The examination by the Human Rights Council is part of a universal periodic review which all 192 member states of the United Nations have to undergo once every four years.